A prerequisite for excellence in teaching and research is to study and to reflect according to one person’s interests and inspirations. Research and teaching, i.e., creation and communication of knowledge, are inseparable from one another and very important in the process of education. For me, education provides conditions for all human beings towards their divine perfection and to achieve the power, the harmony, the beauty and joy of self-realisation. Good teaching is always a passion, and good research always a reflection of one’s academic passion. I think a teacher must be a student, and then only then he will be a good teacher or a researcher. I think “Philosophy is an open-ended, pioneering discipline, forever opening up new areas of study and new methods of inquiry.” Since my studentship, I got interests in various forms of philosophy.
I taught four session in M.A. (Philosophy) and Diploma –in-Reasoning in the Department of Philosophy, Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra. The papers were related to Western Metaphysics, logic (Indian and Western) and Applied Reasoning. In these courses concentration was to introduce the subject matter to students and also provide some practice of logical and applied reasoning.
At present I am teaching B.A. General (Philosophy) in the Department of Philosophy, P. G. Govt. College for Girls, Sector-11, Chandigarh. Our Course includes the following:
Teaching is itself a form of learning from the students. Firstly, while teaching we can have much clarity of the subject-matter rather than to self study. Secondly, questions asked by the students give us an opportunity to reflect more and to interact with students according to their own evaluation. As motioned above, a teacher must be a student because if he is happy and willing to more, he is always ready to learn from all sources and then he can utilise his knowledge while teaching his students. Sometimes we can have some good points from student also. Today education systems almost everywhere are utilitarian in character promoting an examination- oriented education. There goals are limited and have no intrinsic relationship with the idea of process and ends of genuine teaching learning. A question arises as to what system of education could encourage the flowering of good teachers and good pupils. A great role should be assigned to self-learning and to work on individual and collective projects. Programmes of study should be more flexible. The examination system must be thoroughly revised. Texts should be designed to stimulate the pupils to make further progress. In brief, I think a good education will be transmitted through an ideal teaching practice.
I am interested in Meta-philosophy (to talk about the nature of philosophy), Positive Philosophy, Indian Psychology, Socio-educational Philosophy, Philosophy of Mind, Logic and Literature as well. In order to do a thing well, a person needs to be highly motivated, to have an effective method for doing it, and to have the right attitude as he or she goes about doing it. I think “Pure rational-conceptual thought regarding different aspects of human life or a critical thought over such of thoughts may be called as philosophy.” The following points are important while conduct any research work:
1. Read original texts.
2. Have self confidence in your work.
3. Do critical evaluation as per the nature of research.
4. Have openness of mind about your research work.
5. Leave some types of orthodox beliefs.
6. Criticism is the best way to contribute to the Philosophical Research.
7. Develop a attitude for respect to Critical thinking.
My topic of Ph.D. research was “A Philosophical Study of the Concept of Mind (with special reference to Rene Descartes, David Hume and Gilbert Ryle) under the supervision of Dr Anamika Girdhar, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra. In this study we have discussed three conceptions of mind presented by Rene Descartes, David Hume and Gilbert Ryle. All the three thinkers are related to different philosophical traditions known as Rationalism, Empiricism and Analytical Philosophy respectively. Each of these various approaches can be seen as at least partly successful, each provides answers to questions regarded as especially pressing, each apparently solved certain problems. Notoriously, however, each leaves unanswered and unsolved a host of distinct problems as well. Descartes’ and Hume’s theories of mind although now seems as vain discussion but they have left an immense influence on their generations. But Ryle has a big capacity to deal and argue with the present scientific era of thought especially in the linguistics and cognitive science. And we will find that he has a good capacity to deal with the philosophical problem in an honest manner. It is the necessity of the present time that all philosophical discussion should have empirical sciences components and they should go side by side with cognitive science theories of mind. Metaphysical conclusions about the nature of mind are to be reached, not by a priori speculation, but by informed reflection on scientific developments in fields such as computer science and neuroscience. We found that there are common characteristics between philosophy of mind and cognitive science, although philosophy of mind does not have a distinct method, but should share with the best theoretical work in other fields a concern with empirical results. Cognitive Science could help us look at way of the age old philosophic problems in a new scientific light. Mind needs to be looked at from several dimensions physical, symbolic, computational, psychological and even spiritual. In a word, we should adopt a Gestalt attitude viz. that the mind as a ‘whole is more that the sum of its part’; much more than the mere brain. Perhaps, a better and more comprehensive understanding could surely emerge. It is my attempt to produce some research work in future on Indian Psychology, Applied Philosophy and some evaluative database interdisciplinary research in the field of study philosophy.
To accommodate my teaching and research interests, and especially to make possible the communication to others of my work and other associates, I have initiated two academic societies, two academic journals, a personal research centre, and a publishing press which are represented in various pages of our different websites. My interests in academics and publication continually shape both my teaching and research. I believe teaching and research must both be concerned with matters of creativity—in substance and form, as well as expression. We are running an online philosophy society with the named Society for Positive Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Studies (SPPIS) Haryana. To extend the SPPIS works I also established a Centre for Positive Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Studies (CPPIS) Pehowa (Kurukshetra) with some main objectives i.e., to study the nature of philosophy, its growing area in India and carry out evaluative research in Interdisciplinary approach to societal problems, to provide philosophical and academic initiatives and counselling to the students and teachers of various academic levels, to study the problems of students, researchers and teachers of philosophy in their academic and professional life, to disseminate updated information regarding seminars, workshops, conferences in India related to philosophy and other humanities subjects on a regular basis through a newsletter, to provide a platform for interaction between students, researchers and subject experts of different subjects through meetings and interaction programmes. We also published some papers, online and print books on the nature of philosophy, philosophy in schools, Indian philosophers etc. and running an online journal “Lokāyata: Journal of Positive Philosophy (ISSN 2249-8389) and Milestone Education Review ( ISSN:2278-2168). More details can be found at: http://positivephilosophy.webs.com
I worked with Prof. K.K.Sharma (Former Pro-Vice-Chnacellor, NEHU, Shillong in the Centre for Sri Aurobindo Studies, Sohan Lal DAV College for Education, Amala City as a Project Fellow. There I got experience to work on proposal making, oragnising an event and translation etc. Being a member of Council for Teacher Education (HSC), I got the experience of educational programmes in teacher training colleges through report making and participation. Presently, coordinating a Philosophy Chair in Interdisciplinary Research Projects and World Conference on Existential Harmony- 2014 by IASE Deemed University, Gandhi Vidya Mandir, Sardarshahar, Rajasthan, India.
Milestone Education Society (Regd.) Pehowa (Kurukshetra) is a non-profit organization and completely an educational and secular institution in nature about all matters. Its main objective is to do organizational and structural work for the educational development and carries out various initiatives that enhance education among all sections of society. It continuously working from 2005 and registered in April 2006. We work here on the topics related to Child Education, Human Rights, Ambedkar Studies etc.
Dr Desh Raj Sirswal